New Zealand has become the 13th nation and the first in the Asia-Pacific region to legalize same-sex marriage after parliament voted to amend the nation's marriage act on Wednesday.
The New Zealand Herald reports that the public gallery erupted in jubilation after the legislature's 77-44 vote was announced. Lawmakers then embraced and exchanged congratulations as the gallery, and some MPs, sang a waiata, the New Zealand love song "Pokarekare Ana." Hundreds of LGBT advocates also celebrated outside parliament after the historic vote.
While same-sex civil unions have been legal in New Zealand since 2005, the Marriage (Definition of Marriage) Amendment Bill updates a 1955 law in order to "ensure that all people, regardless of sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity will have the opportunity to marry if they so choose."